Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Small churches may receive free the new My Hope DVD "Heaven" due out Nov. 7

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (BP) – Small churches in particular can benefit from the free evangelism outreach My Hope 2014 with Billy Graham, releasing the new DVD "Heaven" in advance of Graham's 96th birthday Nov. 7, said Southern Baptist church planter Terry Dorsett.

"All churches are struggling with evangelism. How do we get our friends and neighbors to listen to us share the Gospel? Most of us are scared to do it. We're afraid to be rejected," Dorsett said. "It gives us an opportunity to do what we should be doing already, but we don't really know how to."

Dorsett is a joint My Hope coordinator for the northeastern U.S., working in Connecticut, Rhode Island and a portion of New York. He's serving in conjunction with Bruce James, evangelism director for the Baptist Convention of New England, who is concentrating on other New England states.

"A lot of the churches in this area ... are very, very small," Dorsett said. "They don't have a lot of money. These pastors are bivocational. We'll actually give the churches in this area up to five DVDs for free ... and then we give them the follow-up materials for free.

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CP aids Arab, Ala. church's global focus


ARAB, Ala. (BP) – The small town of Arab, Ala. has no connection to the 22 nations of the Arab League, other than the missionary interests of the pastor of Gilliam Springs Baptist Church located there.

Pastor Jamey Pruett and his wife Ashleigh served one tour as missionaries to the Middle East through the International Mission Board before moving to Arab three years ago.

"I have a sensitivity to the Middle East," Pruett said. "I learned [while serving there] that Arabs in general are beautiful people and they have as much right to hear the Gospel as anyone, and I learned Jesus died for Muslims as well." 

Pruett is focused on bringing people to Christ wherever they may be found, and the Cooperative Program allows him to extend the reach of the church beyond its northern Alabama hometown of about 8,000 people. The church gives 10 percent of its undesignated receipts to the CP.

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Baptist communicators relay ideas, advice using popular TED Talks format

NASHVILLE (BP) – Tapping the popular "TED Talks" format, Baptist communication and public relations professionals shared their experiences and counsel in a first-ever Fall Forum originating from the Southern Baptist Convention Building in Nashville.

Baptist Communicators Association officers Jim Veneman, Cam Tracy and Shannon Baker organized the six-hour event of presentations that, akin to TED Talks, relayed ideas, advice and teaching from practitioners in a variety of fields.

Between presentations, Baker, communications director at the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network (the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware) and BCA professional development coordinator, showed video clips with other professionals sharing tips on rebranding, web development and other topics.

Those who couldn't go to Nashville could watch the event through online streaming provided by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Viewers were encouraged to text questions to the speakers. Several college journalism classes watched online.

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1% CP Challenge: Learn, pray, give

NASHVILLE (BP) – During October's Cooperative Program Emphasis Month on the Southern Baptist Convention's calendar, churches are encouraged to use the "1% Challenge" video as an educational and motivational tool.

The 1% CP Challenge "is a succinct way to do something more -- an understandable way to say, 'Yeah, we can do that,'" said Frank S. Page, SBC Executive Committee president. "It is understandable, is easily acted upon, and can be done without shifting major sections of a church's finances."

The month-long emphasis spurs churches to learn about the Cooperative Program and prayerfully consider increasing their contributions to its work.

In 2012, 7 percent of cooperating Southern Baptist churches reported they had accepted the 1% CP Challenge in support of missions and ministries led by their state conventions and the SBC, according to a study by LifeWay Research for the Executive Committee, called the 2012 Cooperative Program Omnibus Survey.

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Braxton Caner remembered, honored during Brewton-Parker chapel Oct. 2

Clockwise from left: Bucky Kennedy, pastor of Vidalia First Baptist Church, Vidailia, Ga., Ergun Caner, president of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., Jill Caner and Drake Caner.

MOUNT VERNON — On Thursday, October 2, during the regular chapel service, Brewton-Parker College trustee chairman and pastor of Vidalia First Baptist Church, Vidalia, Ga., Bucky Kennedy, led a special time honoring the late Braxton Caner, son of President and Mrs. Jill Caner and older brother to Drake Caner.

During the memorial time, Kennedy, who is also the Caners' pastor, announced the establishment of The Braxton Caner Freshman Athlete of the Year Award to be given each year beginning in 2015 to a qualifying athlete chosen by the Athletic Director. Those qualifying will be Brewton-Parker athletes who display undeniable Christian character, visible strength during adversity, and overall excellence in team competition.

During the memorial time, Kennedy also announced the establishment of The Braxton Caner Memorial Fund for the Prevention of Suicide and Cyber-bullying. In his presentation, Kennedy mentioned the brief cyber-bullying episode which took place on a social media thread only a few weeks before Braxton tragically died by a self-inflicted wound. While doubtful anyone can “prove” cyber-bullying was the cause of the young Caner’s death, the impression nonetheless exists strongly enough to establish a memorial fund to raise awareness and prevent both teen suicide and internet crimes like cyber-harassment and cyber-bullying.

In addition to the newly established fund, a website is reportedly under construction and will be available at www.braxtonslist.com. All donations to the fund may be marked as “Braxton Caner Memorial Fund” and mailed to Braxton Caner Memorial Fund, c/o Brewton-Parker College, P.O. Box 197, Number 2014, Mount Vernon, GA 30445. Donors may also give online once the website is launched.

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